Dickens knew there were vast reserves of methane hydrate trapped frozen in sea-beds all around the world and wondered what would happen if a lot of that frozen methane on the sea floor had melted from a solid into a gas, and bubbled up from the ocean’s depths? Would it be enough to account for the “signature” of carbon-12 that geologists were finding in the rocks associated with the Permian Mass Extinction? So he went back to the lab and melted frozen methane in water warm enough. The results were dramatic. The gas not only dissolved into the water, but it also rose up out of the water and into the air. Dickens published a paper in 1999 suggesting that a 5 degree Celsius increase in ocean temperatures would have been adequate to melt enough methane hydrate crystals to create the Permian carbon-12 signature. And such a massive release of methane, itself a greenhouse gas vastly more potent than CO2, would also trigger a catastrophic, swift warming of the planet.